Expertise, Research, Service, Education, & Training
The Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center (MKOPSC) is the world’s foremost university-based Process Safety Center. The Center serves industry, government, academia, and the public. It is a resource in education and research and provides service to all stakeholders. MKOPSC is guided by a Steering Committee of consortium member companies and a Technical Advisory Committee of industry experts. Industry guidance ensures that Center activities are relevant to the actual practice of process safety. Over the past 20 years, the body of work created by the Center has to led to the inarguable recognition as an unbiased science-based organization focused on creating dialogue and consensus on difficult scientific topics, amongst all stakeholders.
The number of MS/PhD alumni from MKOPSC is approaching 200, with currently enrolled MS and PhD students ranging from 50 to 100. MKOPSC administers the Safety Engineering academic program, a multi-disciplinary endeavor consisting of a Master’s program as well as Process Safety Certificates for undergraduate and graduate students. From this program, a Process Safety Practice Certificate program was developed for industry practitioners. To further networking and exchange of ideas, the MKOPSC hosts an Annual Process Safety Symposium, attracting over 600 individuals from industry, government, and academia from around the globe.
Students are active participants in Steering and Technical Advisory Committee meetings, which enhance the students’ experience and has led to many successful careers. The students also develop professional skills by working in various industry and federal funded research projects and internships. The students are the Center’s most important product.
As a resource to stakeholders, the Center has authored hundreds of peer-reviewed journal publications, as well as symposium proceedings, white papers, and reports. A reference library is maintained for use by students and others consisting of 15,000 books, 15,000 articles, and various other resources. The Center also serves as a neutral forum for the discussion and dissemination of information regarding issues concerning process safety. The past Director of MKOPSC has testified before the US Congress and commented on legislative matters concerning process safety issues on various occasions. The current director brings with him 40 years of experience working in the industry as a process safety expert.
- Aerosols, mists, and dust explosions
- Consequence analysis: source term, evaporation, gas/vapor dispersion, human injury, asset damage
- Flammability, gas/vapor explosions
- Machine learning and big data analysis in safety management systems
- Data-driven risk assessment methods
- Human factors engineering
- Inherently safer design and optimization
- Offshore process safety
- Reactive chemicals
- Renewable energy
- Resilient and sustainable engineering
- Safety culture
- Transportation and supply chain
- Sponsor unbiased science-based forums for dialogue and consensus on difficult societal issues
- Inform all stakeholders on policy issues based on science
- Extend the Center’s impact and activities by establishing satellite centers around the globe
- Provide evaluation/risk minimization service for businesses, government agencies, institutions, Local Emergency Planning Committees
- Preform independent incident investigation and analysis for government, industries, and agencies
- Improve knowledge/awareness of process hazards and safety for all sectors of society
- Assist other universities and colleges to establish education and research activities in sustainable engineering topics
- Develop state-of-the-art education tools, undergraduate and graduate courses, continuing education programs, tailored for students or employees working at various levels of an organization
- Conduct training programs, seminars, conferences
- Host annual symposia
- Develop industry courses, teach continuing education short courses onsite